I loved it, and it’s not that I didn’t want to face him but knowing it’s going to be an uphill battle. I always had a tough time with little, really fast guys, and he got by me really easy. He was just fearless, and he never let up, and he was a warrior. You couldn’t bully him, and I could bully a lot of guys. AI was my guy for sure.
The popularity of basketball and the NBA is at its peak for the past couple of years. The main effect is the massive contracts players are given every year; however, the players themselves are more distant to the fans attending the game than ever before. There is a notion that the NBA is strictly business and nothing else, which is so true when you take everything into account that is happening with the league. It wasn’t like that before, which was evident when players and fans engaged in conversation and trash-talk during the games, making the entire environment a lot more appealing and fun for everyone, especially the fans.
In recent years, there were several situations in the NBA where the players themselves complained about fans trash-talking them, which often resulted in them getting escorted out of the arena. Of course, the fans should know the boundaries when interacting with players, but the players are often way too sensitive. That is the part of the game which brought excitement, and it made fans engaged in the whole experience.
In one of his older interviews, Michael Jordan talked about the situation when he dunked on John Stockton, which resulted in a random fan yelling, “pick on someone your own size.” Jordan accepted the challenge and proceeded to dunk on Jazz center Mel Turpin and responded: “Is he big enough”. These types of situations and there were numerous of them in Jordan’s career, prove that he didn’t want to distance himself from the fans that want to be involved in the game as much as possible.
“I think the fans should be involved in it. They are here to see the game, they are here to see the entertainment, and if you don’t talk to them, it seems you are isolated from them. I like talking back to them. Magic does it, and it’s a part of the game. It shows you are enjoying the game so much you don’t feel the game is such a business that you don’t talk to people and show how much you love the game.”Michael Jordan
Jordan was known as someone who loved playing games within the games, and it was usually with fans, who would often challenge him in different ways. Kobe Bryant was also the same, and it never occurred to them to have a fan thrown out of the game because of trash-talking pointed at them. Times have definitely changed, and after fans get back to the arenas after the pandemic is over, we’ll see what type of interaction we’ll have among them and the players during games.